MarketingSherpa – Email Marketing How-to: 5 steps to improve your email newsletter
SUMMARY: The newsletter is where two of the most valuable marketing tools come together: email and content. It is a prime opportunity to not only recognize the power shift from marketer to consumer, but also embrace and optimize for it.
Newsletters are an important, but often neglected strategy, with 46% of marketers reporting their email newsletter as staying the course, and 11% having a floundering program, according to the 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report. Read on for five steps from two email marketing leaders to help you improve your newsletters.
“Email is really a place where timeless marketing tactics can be employed. It’s an invaluable tool for responding to your customers’ needs,” said Joel Book, Principal, Marketing Research and Education, ExactTarget.
Since newsletters are permission based, the consumer is already interested in what you have to say. The challenge for the marketer is then to sort through the overwhelming amount of information available to provide the consumer with the value they actually want.
Newsletters are often the first stop on the path to conversion, providing a preview of the value prospects will receive from your main site and, eventually, your product.
“The first fundamental aspect is that they provide a lot of value. People love, and interact with, [newsletters] because they are teasers that drive to the full content. They can often provide a service of actually directing people toward the content they are seeking,” said Loren McDonald, Vice President of Industry Relations, Silverpop.
Step #1. Create a caring mentality
Even if marketers aren’t able to have face-to-face interactions with consumers, it’s important to create that feeling with content. Creating and utilizing opportunities to connect not only your company and its employees to your customers but your customers to each other can have a big payoff.
“You have to care about the subscriber,” Book said. “Email enables a large company to appear small, and a small company to appear larger, because you are creating this community of consumers.”
One of the strengths of email — its efficient nature and cost effectiveness — is in danger of becoming a major detriment when it comes to applying this more considerate approach.
“Unfortunately, I see too many companies sending large one-size-fits-all ‘email blasts’ to their customers,” Book said, adding that some common personal courtesies should be applied in the email marketing sphere.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The impression that the consumer comes away with is, ‘Wow … company A is asking what my interests are, what my preferences are, and company B over here is just blasting away, and I’m getting emails from them that I didn’t even opt in to.’”
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